Billy Joel has written and performed some of my most favorite songs. One song that resonates with my journey with Autism is his classic rock and roll hit entitled “My Life”. Singing along with it reminds me of my need to stand up to people who make assumptions about me and act like there’s something wrong with me. I know who I am and my conscience is clear: God made no mistake with me and I no longer allow other people to dictate how I should live my daily life. I still take advice, but I listen to my instincts at the same time; I’m at a great place right now and I can only get better.
When I hear the opening piano chords, I know exactly what song it is. The famous chorus is what I sing with conviction and passion. “I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m all right. I don’t want you to tell me ‘it’s time to come home’. I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life! Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone…I never said you had to offer me a second chance. I never said I was a victim of circumstance. I still belong…don’t get me wrong, you can speak your mind, but not on my time! I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life! Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone!”
When I sing this, I feel like I’m standing up to my critics and naysayers. The truth is that I’m happy where I am right now and worrying about my perceived faults is just a waste of time and energy. I mean, what did I ever do to you to upset your precious sensibilities? To tell me that I need to “come home” because I’ve sinned in the eyes of you and your God is a grievous misuse of whatever moral authority you think you have. I’ve grown tired of being told that something is wrong with me and I’ve accepted everything about me, good, bad, and indifferent. I’ve let go of my ‘woe is me’ attitude and embraced a sense of control and responsibility for my words and actions. I’m part of the human family and will always belong, no matter what anyone says. I’ve got my own life and I’m not wasting time with negativity. You can live your life the way you want to, all I ask is that you respect my wishes when I ask you to leave me in peace.
This song has given me the confidence to embrace my personal truth and live passionately. It expresses a courage that speaks to my heart and soul and reminds me that I’m okay with where I am right now. It took me a long time to find this inner strength, but for someone on the Autism Spectrum, discoveries like this are few and far between. Now that I have it, nothing can ever take it away. Some days will be better than others, but I won’t lose sight of what’s important. My name is Tony, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and this is my life.
Today’s musical inspiration is, of course, Billy Joel’s “My Life”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPd4Qs4Bzik